What’s in a (marketing) name?


I was on LinkedIn recently and a local recruitment agency who’d I’d once tried to get a job through popped up. They were looking for a “Brand Marketing Manager” with a “passion for sports”. Now don’t worry, this definitely isn’t me. Up until six months ago I was told by a medical professional that my body just wasn’t “built for cardio” and should be avoided at all costs.

What made me chuckle is that I remember applying for a position through said agency for a role titled “Brand Marketing Manager” that was heavily digital for an event technology company based 30-minutes from where I lived. I was turned down before I’d even sent across a CV because I didn’t have a position in my repertoire where I’d been titled “Brand Marketing Manager”. Despite having been “Head of Marketing” and “Head of Digital” for a brand. Within events. Who sold technology.

When it comes to marketing I hate to say it, but names don’t mean squat. Your startup’s “Digital experience manager” is your corporate’s “Head of Digital Marketing” and your out-in-the-sticks’ “Digital Marketing Executive”. They all effectively do the same job. Their salaries fitting snugly between the 25-35k mark. They just don’t have the same title.

To pigeon-hole any marketing professional by the title on their CV is doing them, and the companies you’re recruiting for, a misjustice.

Marketing has evolved rapidly even in the short five years I’ve been working in it. There are no longer fixed boundaries between the role of a digital marketing manager, or a regular marketing manager. Most, can do both on- and offline campaigns – because their job demands it of them. Even with a fixed billboard or out of home advertising campaign, you’re still going to want to send it to a unique URL, or hashtag, or social media feed in order to track something. Even with a digital campaign, there’ll be a time when you’re asked to make presentations, screen content, print or collateral to be shown in the offline world.

Now I’m not saying all recruitment agencies go by these shoddy standards but perhaps from an outside perspective it is difficult to understand. If you looked at my CV, or LinkedIn profile it would tell but a skimming of the marketing activities and initiatives I’ve worked on over the years. I’m not blowing my own trumpet – I’d imagine any marketing professional is the same. Particularly one that’s worked in start ups or small businesses where it’s common practice to have many hats.

The beauty of the internet is that anyone can learn any new practice at any time. Marketing strategy today is more scientific than ever. Involving hypotheses, experimentation, continuous adaptation, learning and relearning. What might be true one day could be false the next. You could uncover a customer cohort you never realised existed. Find a Facebook headline you’d never believed would have worked. All my favourite start up stories (Dating Ring, Twitch and Instagram if you’re asking) were founded in a marketing initiative that was surprisingly successful.

This means that no one marketer has to be an all-round marketing expert. Sure it’s good to have a niche but no one minds if you haven’t done retargeting or Facebook Insights before because there’s that space to test, measure and reiterate. To be honest, even if you have done it before you’re almost starting from scratch each time you work with a new brand or company anyway, so diverse and fickle is the common customer. As long as you know ‘best practice’ for the channels you’re working on you’re fine. And best practice can be learned from Social Media Examiner, or Reddit or any number of googled articles.

On my businesscards it says ‘Digital marketing services’. For one client I’m ‘Head of Marketing’. Another, ‘Social Media and Content’. On LinkedIn I’m a ‘Digital Marketer’ who’s still undecided on whether ‘Marketer’ is even a real word. To my fellow dog walkers in the street I’m a dog mum who ‘does stuff online’.

Now where am I going to find a job description for that?